Historic NYC Blizzard Of 2006

The Blizzard of 2006 was a two-day storm that buried New York City and much of the northeast under up to two feet or more of snow. Although technically not a blizzard (with sustained winds of between 20-30 miles an hour in most areas) except in parts of Long Island and elsewhere, this snowstorm buried New York City under a record 26.9″ of snow, breaking the previous mark that had been set during the December 26-27, 1947 blizzard that had dumped 26.4″ of snow. With its staggering totals, the Blizzard of 2006 confounded earlier forecasts that had called for between 5-10 inches of snow across the region.

Per The New York Times, when describing the storm, it was “a great Crab nebula 1,200 miles long and 500 miles wide on satellite images and a ghostly apparition on the ground [that] crawled up the Eastern Seaboard… with winds that gusted up to 60 miles an hour, and cloaked the cities to countrysides from North Carolina to coastal Maine with 12 to more than 27 inches of snow, which broke or challenged records in many locales.”[1]

Up through February 10, 2006, the 2005-06 winter had been unusually mild, recording the third warmest January on record. In addition, snowfall had been lacking with a total accumulation to date of 11.7 inches after a promising 10 inch start in December 2005. Yet by February 8, meteorologists began to mention “snow” in their forecasts. Initially they called for the possibility of some snow if a developing nor’easter moved close enough to the coast. Two days later, with the NAM model moving into consensus with the American-GSR and European models, both of which called for a significant accumulation, the National Weather Service issued a blizzard watch for the New York metropolitan region, among other areas. Forecasters upped the ante, calling for up to 6-12 inches.

Although a blizzard warning was posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006, forecasters refused to budge from the previous day’s projected amounts. The only exception was Accuweather® meteorologist Joe Bastardi. He hinted in a discussion that the storm had the potential to dump between 20-24 inches across the New York metropolitan area if optimal conditions developed, permitting rapid intensification.

Despite the blizzard warning, the February 11th day started out partly cloudy. There were even moments of sunshine and blue sky. However, as the day progressed, the sky turned gray as the nor’easter’s leading bands of clouds slid into the area. Furthermore, as the New York metro area’s sky became leaden, the storm began to show signs of slowing as it redeveloped off the Carolina coast, hinting that Bastardi’s higher amounts might be more likely.

A light snow overspread the area at about 7:00 PM. Yet up to midnight, accumulations were barely over 2½ inches because of the storm’s wet nature and light intensity.

However, by 2:00 AM, February 12, 2006, things began to rapidly change. The temperature fell (ranging from 23°-28° Fahrenheit in New York City), the flakes became light and fluffy, and the storm intensified and slowed to almost a crawl. By the pre-dawn hours blizzard-like and at times, whiteout conditions existed with fierce winds. Starting at about 5:00-6:00 AM bright lightening followed by loud crashes of thunder unleashed blinding torrents of flakes. The thunder persisted for hours, quickly raising the storm’s totals (about 7 inches had fallen in Central Park by at 7:00 AM, 10 inches by 8 AM and 22 inches by 10 AM).

During the height of the storm that consisted of high winds and accumulations of between 3-5 inches per hour, all three of the major New York metropolitan area airports were shutdown along with Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., stranding thousands. Another hundred were stranded for hours on a stuck Long Island Railroad (L.I.R.R.) train after the electrified rail became buried in snow.

In addition, the L.I.R.R. suspended train service while the New Jersey Port Authority halted bus service. Driving was treacherous – vehicles without warning became stuck in snowdrifts, others came treacherously close to running off buried roads and still others were involved in accidents. When the local airports opened late Sunday evening, a Turkish Airways plane skidded upon landing at La Guardia airport causing more delays.

As the storm raged, plows worked non-stop in an attempt to keep main roads clear (in New York City 2,500 Department of Sanitation employees worked 12-hour shifts and scores of volunteers were hired at $10 per hour to assist with snow removal operations).

Then just when it appeared that the storm would fall just short of the 1947 record, with nearly 25 inches on the ground at about 1:00 PM, a final band of snow materialized out of nowhere, dumping the final 2 inches necessary. By 4:00 PM it was official, the Blizzard of 2006 was New York City’s worst storm since record keeping began in Central Park in 1869. The National Weather Service reported the 26.9-inch accumulation, which eclipsed the old mark as well as the legendary Blizzards of 1888 and 1996 that had buried New York City under 21.0 and 20.2 inches, respectively.

Yet by midday Sunday, when the snow had been tapering off, pedestrians took advantage of the scenic beauty venturing into the streets to take photographs while children enjoyed sledding and skiing. Within 24-48 hours, a rapid melt-down began with temperatures soaring into the 50s enabling life to return to normal. Amazingly, unlike the previous New York City record holder storm, which had killed 77 people, the Blizzard of 2006 left no fatalities in the tri-state area.

Tri-State Storm Totals

Connecticut:

Fairfield County:
West Redding 28.0 Inches
Easton 27. 0 Inches
Danbury 26.0 Inches
Ridgefield 25.0 Inches
North Stamford 24.5 Inches
Darien 22.5 Inches
Shelton 22.5 Inches
Norwalk 22.0 Inches
New Canaan 21.7 Inches
Bethel 21.0 Inches
Fairfield 18.0 Inches
Brookfield 17.0 Inches
Sherman 16.0 Inches
Stratford 13.0 Inches
Bridgeport 12.5 Inches
Monroe 12.0 Inches

Middlesex County:
Durham 17.0 Inches
Clinton 12.5 Inches
Haddam 11.3 Inches
Old Saybrook 11.3 Inches

Middlesex County:
Southbury 25.0 Inches
Wolcott 25.0 Inches
Waterbury 23.0 Inches
Meriden 21.0 Inches
Seymour 21.0 Inches
Beacon Falls 20.0 Inches
Cheshire 18.0 Inches
East Meriden 17.0 Inches
New Haven 16.0 Inches
North Madison 15.0 Inches
West Haven 14.0 Inches
North Haven 13.0 Inches
Wallingford 12.5 Inches
Guilford 12.0 Inches
Madison 12.0 Inches
Milford 11.3 Inches
Orange 11.0 Inches

New London County:
Norwich 14.0 Inches
Oakdale 14.0 Inches
Voluntown 14.0 Inches
Colchester 13.8 Inches
Sprague 12.0 Inches
East Lyme 11.0 Inches
Lisbon 10.5 Inches
Groton 10.3 Inches

New Jersey:

Bergen County:
Ridgewood 19.0 Inches
Rutherford 19.0 Inches
Teaneck 19.0 Inches
Cliffside Park 18.0 Inches
Rivervale 18.0 Inches
Tenafly 18.0 Inches
North Arlington 17.5 Inches
Bergenfield 16.6 Inches
Montvale 16.5 Inches

Essex County:
Montclair 21.8 Inches
West Orange 21.0 Inches
Newark 20.7 Inches
South Orange 18.0 Inches
West Caldwell 17.6 Inches
Belleville 17.4 Inches
Cedar Grove 17.1 Inches

Hudson County:
Hoboken 20.7 Inches
Jersey City 20.0 Inches
Harrison 17.5 Inches

Passaic County:
West Paterson 20.0 Inches
Hawthorne 15.5 Inches

Union County:
Rahway 27 Inches
Roselle 24.6 Inches
Cranford 20.6 Inches
Garwood 18.0 Inches
Hillside 17.0 Inches
Union 16.0 Inches

New York:

Bronx County:
Bronx 24.5 Inches
Westchester 23.9 Inches
Parkchester 20.4 Inches
Woodlawn 17.0 Inches

Kings County:
Brooklyn Marine Park 19.5 Inches
Flatlands 19.0 Inches
Midwood 18.7 Inches
Sunset Park 18.5 Inches
Sheepshead Bay 18.0 Inches
Broadway Junction 17.0 Inches

Nassau County:
Great Neck 23.6 Inches
Carle Place 20.0 Inches
Woodbury 20.0 Inches
Muttontown 18.6 Inches
Bellmore 17.8 Inches
Farmingdale 17.5 Inches
Syosset 16.0 Inches
East Meadow 15.2 Inches
Massapequa Park 14.0 Inches
New Hyde Park 14.0 Inches
Hicksville 13.7 Inches
Oceanside 13.1 Inches
Plainview 13.0 Inches
Lynbrook 11.0 Inches

New York County:
Columbia University 27 Inches
Central Park 26.9 Inches
Chinatown 24.7 Inches

Orange County:
Cornwall 10.0 Inches

Putnam County:
Brewster 24.0 Inches
Lake Carmel 22.5 Inches
Carmel 19.0 Inches
Putnam Lake 18.0 Inches

Queens County:
Astoria 26.0 Inches
La Guardia Airport 25.4 Inches
Flushing 19.9 Inches
Richmond Hill 19.5 Inches
Far Rockaway 17.5 Inches
JFK Airport 16.7 Inches

Richmond County:
Clove Lakes Park 22.0 Inches
Castleton Corners 20.0 Inches
Eltingville 16.6 Inches
Travis 15.0 Inches

Rockland County:
New City 20.1 Inches
Valley Cottage 16.0 Inches
Stony Point 12.0 Inches
Sparkill 10.2 Inches

Suffolk County:
Islip 20.0 Inches
Medford 19.1 Inches
Wading River 17.9 Inches
Bellport 17.0 Inches
Orient 17.0 Inches
East Northport 15.2 Inches
Commack 15.0 Inches
Port Jefferson 15.0 Inches
Miller Place 14.8 Inches
Center Moriches 14.3 Inches
Lake Ronkonkoma 14.0 Inches
North Patchogue 14.0 Inches
Upton 13.9 Inches
Baiting Hollow 13.7 Inches
Lindenhurst 13.5 Inches
Centerport 13.4 Inches
Smithtown 13.3 Inches
Hauppauge 13.2 Inches
North Babylon 12.3 Inches
Shirley 11.7 Inches
Dix Hills 10.7 Inches
Commack 10.0 Inches

Westchester County:
New Rochelle 24.5 Inches
Pound Ridge 24.0 Inches
Yonkers 23.9 Inches
Eastchester 23.2 Inches
Katonah 22.0 Inches
White Plains 21.5 Inches
Yorktown Heights 21.0 Inches
Hastings-On-Hudson 20.0 Inches
Rye Brook 20.0 Inches
Bronxville 19.8 Inches
Mount Kisco 19.5 Inches
North Salem 19.0 Inches
Armonk 18.5 Inches
Croton-On-Hudson 16.0 Inches

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[1] A Record Snow: 26.9 Inches Fall In New York City – Old Mark of 1947 Broken… The New York Times. February 13, 2006. p.1.

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Sources:

  • Newsday. February 13, 2006.
  • The Journal News. February 13, 2006.
  • New York Area snowfall reports. The National Weather Service. February 13, 2006.
  • The New York Daily News. February 13, 2006.
  • The New York Post. February 13, 2006.
  • The New York Times. February 11, 2006.
  • The New York Times. February 12, 2006.
  • The New York Times. February 13, 2006.
  • Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/212280

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